"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"

Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Jihadi Rehab: Swedish City Plans Free Driver’s License, Housing & Tax Perks for Returning Fighters

While violence is increasing at an insane rate globally
Sweden is insanely embracing jihadists

© Reuters
© Reuters

A Swedish city is considering giving jihadists returning from Syria and Iraq free housing, a driver’s license, and tax benefits to ease their reintegration, but social media users have slammed the proposal, saying it ignores the terrorists’ victims.

It simply astounds me how many horrendously stupid decisions come from the government in Sweden. It's like they have a death wish. They are at least Hell-bent on cultural suicide, and at worst seem to care not one iota about the rape and sexual assault of young Swedish women. Is someone spiking the water in government buildings with stupid pills?

Say Good-Bye to the Old Sweden; Embrace the New - Gov't Charity Ad
Sweden Commits Cultural Suicide by Trashing Parliament
Stockholm Burning - 2nd Night of Rioting in Muslim Sector
Swedes Are Now a Minority to Muslims in Many Local Communities
Swedish Police Face Looming Crisis as Cops Quit While No-Go Zones Increase
Swedish Jihadi: “Go There with a Bomb”

The support for extremists was proposed by Anna Sjöstrand, a municipal coordinator against violent extremism in the city of Lund in southern Sweden.

“There may be criticism, but [I think] that you should get the same help as others who seek help from us. We can’t say that because you made a wrong choice, you have no rights to come back and live in our society,” Sjöstrand said on Swedish Sveriges Radio.

Sjöstrand’s proposal was based on a report written by author and criminologist Christoffer Carlsson, who says that it is difficult for people to abandon extremism and reintegrate into society without support.

“It’s a straight social, economic and material question. You need to be able to reintegrate into the job market, you may need to have a driving license, debt settlement and shelter,” he said.

According to Carlsson, “the risk is great that they [Islamist extremists] are unable to leave the extremist environment” without support, so “they might make an attempt and fail because they have nothing to keep them out, and there is always something to return to, namely the organization they left.”

    Lund University, Sweden

The proposal has been eviscerated on social media, however, with users saying that Sweden is forgetting about the terrorists’ victims.

“Lund wants to help terrorists with housing, driver’s license and job, but forgets the victims,” one user wrote on Twitter, while another added: “Rapists, child murderers, terrorists. Everyone should be treated equally.”

Some users were calling for Sjöstrand’s resignation.

“Anna Sjöstrand, of course you should say ‘You have made a choice and are never welcome back,’” added @I_was_Sweden.

According to Sveriges Radio, a similar ‘welcoming’ approach is also being considered in the Swedish cities of Malmö, Borlänge, and Örebro.

Örebro was severely criticized in January after two IS terrorists – Liban Qadar, 23, and Mahamed Farah Osman, 24 – were offered internships in the municipality, but chose to return to Syria, where they were later killed in battle. 

Which should cause one to question Carlsson's theory. 

Let's say I didn't qualify for assistance with housing, driver's licence, etc., it might be advantageous for me to go to Syria, rape a few Yazidi girls, kill a few Christians, and then return to Lund where the 'Welcome Wagon' would be rolled out for me. I know that's stupid, but it fits right in to the logic of this whole thing.

The incident has been classified as a clear failure for Thomas Gustafsson, Orebro’s head of partnership.

Research from the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) shows that at least 300 Swedish citizens had traveled to Iraq and Syria to join IS extremists as of April of this year.

Meanwhile, some 140 terrorists had already returned to Sweden as of October of this year, local media reported.

Also in April, a report appearing in the Swedish media claimed that Islamists have successfully infiltrated Sweden’s Green Party. Lars Nicander from the Swedish National Defense University said there is “a very similar effect today, in which people close to the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist party, are apparently gaining large footholds in the Green Party.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Prager: In Defense of Pro-Trump Christians, Sort of

There is no connection between marital
fidelity and fidelity to country

Dennis Prager 

There are many good conservatives who are Never-Trumpers, and there are many good conservatives who will vote for Donald Trump. Eight months ago, I warned that conservatives must resist gratuitous hatred or they will destroy themselves more effectively than the left ever could on its own.

I used the term "gratuitous hatred" because it is the term Jews and Judaism use to describe the reason for one of the greatest calamities of Jewish history: the destruction of the Second Temple and the second Jewish state. It wasn't the Romans who Jewish tradition blames; it was the Jews themselves -- for hating one another for no good reason.

When I read the Boston Globe column "How the Religious Right Embraced Donald Trump and Lost its Moral Authority" by Jeff Jacoby, a man whose work I have long respected, gratuitous hatred came to mind. Just as there are pro-Trump people who have expressed contempt for anti-Trump people since the very beginning -- as an early anti-Trumper I can personally attest to this (even though I wrote repeatedly that if Trump wins the nomination, I would vote for him) -- some Never-Trump people now dismiss the decency and moral credibility of conservatives voting for Trump.

In light of this, I would like to respond to Jacoby and the editorial against Trump that was published last week in the important evangelical journal World.

Jacoby's piece consisted of contained attacks on the moral credibility and decency of pro-Trump Christians. He said: "Religious conservatives shed their principles, and thereby dismantled their influence. ... Buried under the post-election wreckage will be the moral credibility of the religious right. ... (Their) hypocrisy ... is orders of magnitude worse than the customary flip-flopping and sail-trimming of a presidential campaign." Unlike Jacoby, World went out of its way to be gracious to those Christians still voting for Trump, saying, "We also value those who still plan to vote for Trump so as to vote for the Supreme Court."

But the private Trump comments on groping women pushed World to call for Trump to resign and for Christians to withdraw their support. It said, "If a person is unfaithful to his spouse, he's also likely to be unfaithful to his country."

I have heard this argument about the alleged connection between marital infidelity and infidelity to one's country my whole life. And it has been false my whole life -- as well as throughout history. There is no connection between marital fidelity and fidelity to country. Were the unfaithful Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy also unfaithful to America?

Indeed, some of the world's greatest leaders have been unfaithful to their wives. And some of the worst have been faithful.

I wish there were a connection. Choices for leaders would then be much simpler. The only married candidates we would vote for are those we believe had never been unfaithful to their spouses.

Jacoby and World must think God was pretty flawed in voting for King David. King David did much worse than privately boasting about women allowing him to grope them. He had a man killed so his adultery with the man's wife would not be exposed. And while God was angry with David and punished him, God still maintained David as king and gave him a central role in Jewish history. If God shouldn't be ashamed for supporting King David, Christians shouldn't be ashamed for supporting Donald Trump, given the far more corrupt and destructive alternative.

Mr Prager had me until now. However, there is little comparison between King David and Donald Trump. David was a man after God's own heart who went astray out of lust and repented intensely. Donald Trump is not a man after God's own heart, he is a 2 Timothy 3 man, and one all Christians should turn away from as Paul directed.

The unfaithful argument does not do honor to those fine people who make the argument because telling the truth is also a divine command.

World wrote, "To quote (Albert) Mohler (president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), we should not 'allow a national disgrace to become the Great Evangelical Embarrassment.'" That means that World is for allowing another national disgrace -- Hillary Clinton -- to become president. Why wouldn't that be a "Great Evangelical Embarrassment"?

"Another national disgrace"? Mr Prager has come to believe his own hype and the disgraceful exhibition of name-calling and character assassination that the Republicans have been ruthlessly hammering on for several years. Hillary is not the most wonderful person to run for President, but there are several presidents who's character has been far worse than hers, Johnson, Nixon, and her own husband just to name 3. I would vote for Michelle Obama in a heartbeat before voting for Hillary, but the US has had worse. Yes, even worse than Trump.

It's unfortunate that Prager uses such language for it makes it almost impossible for Trump supporters to lose gracefully and that will ensure a country that is almost impossible to rule with any elegance. Trump supporter's intransigence is liable to be the cause for a President Clinton to be the fulfillment of all the fears they express like gun control.

But they will respond that they are not for Clinton either.

This is the only argument of anti-Trump conservatives that drives me crazy -- this vociferous denial that they are not for Clinton. Of course they aren't for Clinton intellectually, emotionally or morally. But the voting booth does not assess intellect, emotions or morals; it only assesses votes. So no matter how much a Republican loathes Clinton, in depriving Trump of Republican votes, anti-Trump Republicans are helping Clinton win the presidency.

It didn't have to be this way. It was the complete lack of discernment in the character of Trump that allowed him to get the nomination in the first place. Had Mr Prager and others been more critical of Trump rather than hammering away at Hillary's emails, there might actually have been a reasonable alternative to Hillary.

In sum, a religious conservative can honorably support Trump just as honorable Christians supported Joseph Stalin against Adolf Hitler (and for the sake of those who enjoy mischaracterizing conservatives, I am, of course, not implying that Trump is Stalin, or that Clinton is Hitler -- only that if Christians could ally themselves with Stalin to defeat a more dangerous foe, Christians could support Trump to defeat Clinton).

Surely, there is something seriously wrong with the 2-party system in the USA. When it leaves Christians with no apparent choice but to support a man who exemplifies the culture of rape in America, it's time to reorganize the way Americans do politics.

There is no defense for Donald Trump's comments or alleged sexual misbehavior. But in terms of damage to America, there is no comparison between what he has said and allegedly done and what she has done and advocates for the future. Is acting on that realization un-Christian?

I completely disagree with this statement. The worst problem in America today is not Hillary, it is not debt, the economy, Mexicans, ISIS, Islam or anything else Trump is railing against. It isn't even abortion although about a million babies are destroyed annually even thought here has been 20 years (I think) of Republican presidents and more of Republican lawmakers since Roe v Wade.
The worst problem an America today is sex abuse of women and especially children. 3/4 of a million children are sexually abused every year in America, and that is a conservative estimate. Unlike aborted babies, very few of them get to go straight to Heaven. Most have to live their lives out in extremely difficult circumstances. Very few sexually abused children ever completely recover, and far too many struggle with horrible, debilitating, mental and emotional problems the rest of their lives. 

This is the worst problem in America as it is the worst problem in the whole world where about 35 million children suffer sexual abuse every year. And since most suffer repeated abuse the actual number of child sexual abuses could be, and probably is in the billions annually. 

So ask me, do I care about somebody's emails? Do I care about 4 dead bodies in Benghazi? If that's all you can wrap your mind around, then your priorities are severely screwed up! Just saying...

Christian Refugees Persecuted by Muslim Asylum Seekers in German Shelters – Survey

© Fabrizio Bensch
© Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters

Christian asylum seekers as well as members of other religious minority groups living in refugee shelters across Germany face systematic persecution from both Muslim refugees and Muslim staff, a recently published survey shows.

As many as 743 Christian refugees and 10 Yazidis living in refugee centers in various German states have reported religiously motivated attacks between February and September 2016, a survey conducted by several charitable NGOs says, stressing that collected data should be “considered … as the tip of the iceberg,” as “there are a high number of unreported cases.”

Fifty-six percent of the affected refugees said that they were subjected to violent assaults and were beaten up while 42 percent of them said that they or their family members received death threats both from fellow refugees and Muslim staff, including volunteers and security personnel working at the centers.

Forty-four Christian asylum seekers also reported sexual attacks, the survey presented during a press conference in Berlin on October 17 said, adding that all reported attacks were motivated by the Christian or other non-Muslim faith of the victims.

At the same time, an absolute majority (83 percent) of the refugees who participated in the survey said that they faced persecution “several times,” while only 8 percent said that it happened to them only once.

The survey was conducted by Christian charity Open Doors, Action on behalf of Persecuted Christians and the Needy (AVC), European Mission Society Fellowship (EMC) and the Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany (ZOCD).

The survey also said that most Christian refugees who were subjected to persecution in German asylum centers came from Syria and Iran, with half of all Christian asylum seekers surveyed being converts from Islam. Most of those surveyed were men (75 percent) and half of the respondents were under 35 years old.

The survey particularly stressed that converts living in the shelters are facing the highest risk of persecution as, “according to the Quran their change of faith is considered as a crime worthy of the death penalty, therefore they are explicitly in danger.”

“More than a few asylum seekers are likely to uphold the concept they are familiar with from their home countries even after having fled to Germany, that anyone who converts from Islam to Christianity has committed a major offence. What is more, converts sometimes experience harsh rejection by Muslim security guards and interpreters,” the report claims.

Most victims of persecution are afraid of reporting their cases to police as they fear that the situation would get worse. As a result, only 17 percent of affected refugees contacted police officers. Some of the victims also complained to the charities that interpreters working at the shelters deliberately twist their words while other said that security staff at the shelters takes no measures to prevent the attacks.

Some Christian refugees even had to return to their countries of origin because of persecution they face in German refugee centers, Paulus Kurt from the ZOCD told German Die Welt daily.

The survey provoked an outrage among some German politicians. Martin Neumeyer, the Bavarian government’s commissioner on integration, said that those guilty of persecution should face harsh consequences.

“Those who terrorize Christians or atheists in the refugee shelters should have no right to apply for asylum,” Neumeyer said at a press conference after the presentation of the survey.

A member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, Kai Wegner, told die Welt daily that he was embarrassed by the allegations presented in the Open Doors report.

“Those who spread religious hate in Germany are not welcome here,” he said, adding that the offenders should “feel… the consequences” that would particularly affect their right to stay in Germany.

At the same time, some German states are apparently trying to downplay the issue. Ralf Jaeger, the Interior Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, where more than 120 cases of attacks on Christian asylum seekers were recorded, said that his ministry has “no evidence of religiously motivated attacks on Christian refugees or other religious minorities.”

The Bavarian Interior Ministry said it is aware of the problem but still expects that “all asylum seekers will live peacefully together irrespective of their religion, origin or sexual orientation.”

The charities that conducted the survey said that urgent measures should be taken to protect religious minorities in the refugee centers. They said that there should be at least equal number of Christians and Muslims in those centers where they live together. At the same time, the relief organizations stress that they “have long called for” separate accommodation of Muslim and non-Muslim refugees.

This would seem intuitive! Mixing small numbers of Christians or even smaller numbers of Yazidis among Muslim migrants is not only ill-thought-out, it's borderline insane. Is there a panel, discussion-group, inquiry, investigation going on assessing the entire process of handling migrants? Are these issues being constantly examined and addressed? Germany went into this madness completely unprepared and seems to still lack a fully-coordinated approach a year and a half later.

They also said that more non-Muslim staff members should work in the centers in order to properly tackle religious conflicts.

According to the German authorities, Muslims account for three quarters of the total number of asylum seekers that came to Germany during the refugee crisis. According to revised statistics, 890,000 asylum seekers arrived in Germany last year, while previous estimations put the number at 1.1 million.

Between January and June 2016, more than 200,000 newcomers were officially registered in Germany, according to Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

Meanwhile, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble called for the creation of “German Islam” that would be based on the principles of tolerance and European liberalism and will eventually help integrate refugees into German society.

Good luck with that Minister Schauble - you are going to try and change a 1400 year old system of brain-washing to accommodate a post WWII culture?  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Does This Scripture Remind You of Anyone?

I'm not a prophet, but I know prophecy when I see it.
Do you?
2 Timothy 3

Perilous Times and Perilous Men

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be:

lovers of themselves, 
lovers of money, 
proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents,
unholy, 3
without self-control, 
despisers of good, 4 
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 
having a form of godliness (ie an outward appearance of reverence for God)
but denying its power. (ie religious activity not connected to a living relationship with Jesus Christ)

And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are 

those who creep into households (those who use deception to gain an audience)
and make captives of gullible women (captives - take prisoner, spiritually) (gullible women - targets of deception)
loaded down with sins, 
led away by various lusts, 7 
always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do
these also resist the truth: 
men of corrupt minds, 
disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but 
they will progress no further, for 
their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

The Man of God and the Word of God

10 But you have carefully 
followed my doctrine, 
manner of life, 
perseverance, 11 
afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And 
out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13
But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, 
knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that 
from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, 
which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and
is profitable for doctrine, 
for reproof, 
for correction, 
for instruction in righteousness, 17
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

New King James Version (NKJV)

May God bless and give wisdom to all who read the above.

Thousands March in Protest Against Same-Sex Marriage IN PARIS!

Considering how un-Catholic France has become,
this is a little surprising

© Benoit Tessier
© Benoit Tessier / Reuters

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Paris to protest against same sex marriage, which was legalized in France in 2013.

The protest was organized by ManifpourTous, or ‘Demonstration for All’. French presidential elections are due to be held in May and the group, formed in 2012, is seeking a repeal of the 2013 law.

Protesters marched through the Place de la Concorde towards the Eiffel Tower, holding slogans such as “A father and a mother – it's hereditary” and “In 2017, I will vote for the family.”

“I am against gay marriage and against the crappy leaders who oppose the power of the people,” said one protester, retired 72-year-old engineer Michel Delaune as quoted by France24.

As well as same sex marriage, protesters rallied against surrogate pregnancies, which would allow same sex couples to have children. Some held up signs saying, “women’s wombs are not for sale.” Although surrogacy was pushed for by proponents of the 2013 law, it was not included in the final bill because of fierce opposition from ManifpourTous.

ManifpourTous estimated that their march attracted around 200,000 protesters, though police gave a far lower turnout of 24,000. Several right-wing figures were in attendance, including Jean-Frederic Poisson, an MP who has been vocal in his opposition to same-sex marriage, and Marion Marechal-Le Pen, the niece of National Front leader Marine Le Pen. Le Pen herself was not present, telling BFM-TV she “does not feel compelled to pound the pavement”, but nevertheless expressed sympathy for the protesters views and said that should she be elected president, the law would be reviewed.

The event was held under tight security, with authorities not wanting a repeat of the violence that marred a larger protest in April 2013, during which riot police faced off against youth hurling bottles and fireworks. Streets were sealed off and people were searched, with a total of thirteen arrests made including for drugs possession and offensive weapons.

Among those arrested were members of the Ukrainian feminist group Femen. Ten activists infiltrated the march and demonstrated topless, shouting “hatred is not a family value!” They were then set upon by members of the crowd before six of them were detained by the authorities. On Twitter, Femen claimed they were responding to a “reactionary wave” which has “spilled homophobia across France.”

The 2013 law allowing ‘marriage for all’ was introduced by the then-Minister of Justice Christiane Taubira and was passed by parliament in April of that year, despite heavy opposition by conservatives. Despite the controversy, neither former President Nicolas Sarkozy nor his rival Alain Juppe, the leading nominees for the right-wing Republican presidential candidacy, have expressed an interest in repealing the law.

"I believe France has many other important issues to deal with such as security, terrorism and unemployment,” Sarkozy said on the political talkshow Punchline, “rather than recreate conditions for another hysterical debate.”

No, Christianity Should Not ‘Welcome’ or ‘Include’ Your Sinful Lifestyle

Brilliant response to gay Christian who attacks blogger
for not welcoming practicing gays into the church

Matt Walsh is a blogger, writer, speaker, and professional truth sayer.

I got this email a few days ago insisting Christians need to be more “inclusive” of open homosexuals. It’s a popular notion these days, so I thought I’d share this with you and respond here publicly:

Matt, you put yourself on a pedestal as this “great Christian” but you do more harm to the religion than anyone else. As a gay man I can say I’m happy to see how finally a lot of Christians and different churches are realizing that Christianity has to be INCLUSIVE of the LGBTQ community and other lifestyles. Not judging of them. Gays and trans people have felt alienated by Christianity and now progressive Christians have finally started to pull the religion into the 21st century and reach out to all of us. Jesus preached tolerance for all people and lifestyles not HATE. The prodigal son was WELCOMED back not told to go away! You are still trying to make divisions and tell some of us Christians we are not Christians just because we live differently. You are a truly sh*tty person and you come off as a bad writer and an uneducated idiot. Just stop talking. You make Jesus mad every time you write your garbage.

-A gay man who loves Jesus

Hi. Thanks for writing. A few points.

First, as I’m constantly reminded, the sins of homosexuality and fornication have existed since Biblical times. Still, it was prohibited in the Old and New Testaments (Genesis 19:1-13, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9) and by every Christian church for the first 20 centuries of Christianity’s existence. Since you are a self-identified Christian who thinks the moral teachings of the Bible should now be suddenly updated, I have to ask: What changed?

What was revealed in the last few years that proved the prophets, the apostles and all Christian denominations until recently wrong? What new piece of information did humanity obtain? What great revelation occurred? You think a 2,000-year-old faith that professes timeless Truths should “keep up” with the whims of modernity, but why? What do we know in our time that the Church didn’t know — that God Himself didn’t know — up to now? Be very careful in how you answer that question.

Second, I have never referred to myself as a “great Christian” — or a “great” anything for that matter — so I’m not sure why you put “great Christian” in quotes. I consider myself a greatly flawed Christian, even a “sh*tty” one, as you so helpfully and compassionately noted.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

See, you need to stop reading with your emotions and read with your brain, man. Your emotions tell you that anyone who advocates virtue is automatically claiming to be virtuous, because it’s easier to dismiss a point based on the perceived motivations behind it rather than consider the point on its own merits. It’s like I’m saying two plus two equals four, and you’re countering that I’m not such a brilliant mathematician. Well, right, but I never said I was a brilliant mathematician. I just said two plus two equals four, because it does, and because even a stupid man can see that.

It’s difficult to have grown-up conversations these days, because people like yourself see every mention of moral truth as either a personal attack or a statement of superiority. This is the real damage you cause in the Faith. It’s not that you’re sinful — we all are, to be sure — it’s that you want to be coddled. You want to shut down professions of Truth that are inconvenient or uncomfortable. You want to modify Christian teachings not because you tried them and found them wrong, but because, to paraphrase Chesterton, you found them difficult and don’t want to try them.

I have many sins, but I will not tell you they are not sins. I come to Christ a sick and broken man looking for healing. You apparently come a sick and broken man looking to be assured you were never sick and broken to begin with. That is the only real difference between us. Or I should say, it’s the only real difference between Christians and “progressive Christians.” Both groups are sinful, both groups are weak, both groups need Christ desperately, but one wants — though they may so often fail — to go Christ’s way, and the other wants Christ to go theirs.

Third, I’m tired of hearing this “inclusive” stuff. Yes of course the Faith is made for people like you. It’s made for all people. It’s not a cult or a club. There’s no entrance exam or membership fee. Christianity is for everyone. If that’s what you mean by “inclusive,” fine, but a better word would be “universal.” In any case, that isn’t what you mean, is it?

When you ask for an “inclusive” Christianity, you ask for a Christianity that, rather than calling you to serve it, bends down and serves you. You’re asking to be “included” in the Faith on your own terms. That’s just not how this works, brother. As Christians, we have no authority to “include” you in that way. You must include yourself.

We go out into the world and proclaim the Gospel. We offer an invitation. We extend a greeting. We fight to win souls. But the souls must come of their own accord and must accept the Truth of Christ willingly and in its fullness. You must enter into the Truth. You must be the one who accepts it. You must be the one who “includes” the Truth in your life. Your lifestyle must change to accommodate the Truth, not the other way around.

By the way, Jesus never uttered the word “lifestyle,” much less did He preach that they all ought to be tolerated. Recently, we’ve started referring to sins as “lifestyles” and pretending that this rhetorical maneuver somehow changes the morality of the issue. It doesn’t. A sin is still a sin, and He instructs us all to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11), which often means dramatically altering our lifestyles.

Indeed, when people came to follow Him in Scripture, He told them to first leave their earthly pleasures behind and then continue along the road (Luke 18:22). He made it very clear that there is in fact a correct lifestyle, a correct way to live, and that way is narrow. Matthew 7:13 tells us the broad and “inclusive” road is the one that leads to damnation. You must choose, then, to walk through the right path, the narrow path, but it will be difficult and demanding, and it will not and cannot be widened to include you.

We all struggle with sin. But struggle is the keyword. Struggle. Fight back. Plead with God in agony to help you defeat these demons. Go to Christ begging that He help you overcome your temptations and live with chastity and temperance. Don’t demand that your sin be allowed to accompany you into Heaven. It can’t. We can accompany our sins into Hell, or ditch the whole ugly package on the side of the road and come Home.

In “The Great Divorce,” C.S. Lewis said, “If we insist on keeping Hell, we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven, we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.”

That’s our choice, in a nutshell.

Yes, as you mention, the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11) was welcomed back by his father. But have you read the entire parable? The son realizes the error of his ways, makes the journey back home, and when he arrives he pleads for forgiveness. “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Wow, that’s, like, a pretty intense declaration. Notice he didn’t waltz back to his dad’s place and casually brag that he blew his fortune on hookers and booze but he’s not sorry and intends to get right back to it first thing tomorrow. If he had, I think the story would have ended differently.

We see the same sort of thing play out in the passage about the two criminals crucified next to Christ (Luke 23:39-43). One of the criminals is unrepentant and demands that Jesus rescue him from his fate and allow him to continue on sinning. The other realizes he deserves his punishment and, in those final moments before death, professes his faith in Christ and repents of his sin. Christ assures the repentant man he will be with Him in paradise. Our Lord very noticeably does not make this guarantee to the other. A really bad sign for that dude, to say the least.

But for the penitent criminal, imagine the joy. What a beautiful thing, what a privilege it must have been to die next to Christ, to be forgiven everything he’d ever done and welcomed into eternal salvation. Now, that is inclusive. And that is an opportunity open to all of us.

It’s so simple, really. The message is so hopeful and good and joyous, which is why I resent attempts to dilute it into oblivion. All we have to do is follow Christ, spread the Gospel, fight against our sins, and repent for the times when we fail in that fight. That’s all. That’s the “how to” of Christianity. It seems you want to remove, well, all of those ingredients and still call yourself a Christian. You might as well remove all the yeast and flour from a mixture and call the goop of water, butter, and salt that remains “bread.”

I’m reminded of a great moment from a fantastic book called “The Power and the Glory,” set during the persecutions in 1930s Mexico. The protagonist, a sinful, degenerate, alcoholic priest with an illegitimate daughter, is facing execution for his faith. Hours before they march him to death by firing squad, he’s in his cell reflecting on his life and praying for forgiveness:

He felt only an immense disappointment because he had to go to God empty-handed, with nothing done at all. It seemed to him at that moment that it would have been quite easy to have been a saint. It would only have needed a little self-restraint and a little courage. He felt like someone who has missed happiness by seconds at an appointed place. He knew now that there was only one thing that counted — to be a saint.

Powerful. The man knows he has failed God so many times in his life, he lacked even the little restraint and courage that was required to follow Christ perfectly, yet because he believed, because he repented, because in these final moments he hungers for the Lord’s embrace, he will enter Paradise all the same.

Inclusive? Sure. I’d call that inclusive.

The point is, Christianity includes us, Christ includes us, but He will not include our sin. We have to choose to shed our sin, pick up our cross, and follow Him. That’s what it means to “be included.” You say that’s what you want, but do you? Do you want to leave your earthly pleasures behind, cut off whatever parts of your life are causing you to sin (Matthew 5:30), and die with Christ? I can’t answer that question for you. I have a hard enough time answering it affirmatively myself every day.

Christianity is truly a simple formula, but a painful one. If we will not include the pain and sacrifice in our lives, we will not include the Faith.

Fourth, Christians churches in America were never guilty of “alienating” unrepentant sinners like the “LGBTQ community.” They are so attached to their sin that they literally define themselves by it. They look for ”community” not with the Body of Christ, but with those who share their urges and fetishes. They elect to reject the difficult aspects of the Faith. They alienate themselves.

There are many accounts in Scripture where Jesus delivers a controversial message that is hard for people to accept, and many of his followers abandon Him altogether because of it. You’ll notice that Jesus never backtracks and apologizes. He never chases them down as they walk away and explains that He didn’t really mean all that stuff and really they were just taking it out of context.

In John 6, after Christ proclaims Himself the bread of life, many of his disciples are upset and threaten to leave. He does not beg them to turn around. He just continues right along speaking the Truth. He does not change His Word to cater to those who choose not to accept it. They are alienated by their sin, not by Him.

With that said, I do think many churches are guilty of alienating a certain group. As others have pointed out, the minority that rightly feels disaffected are those striving to live the Christian life. While western Christendom has worked so hard to shelter and welcome people who do not even desire to follow His Word and who, in fact, wish to subvert and change it for their own purposes, the ones really left out in the cold are those who try to be virtuous, chaste and faithful.

The Christians who would now be called “extremist” or “fundamentalist” or “conservative,” who stand against the cultural tide, who resist the temptation to succumb to the heretical fashions of the day — these are the Christians we need to include more. They have accepted the Faith for what it is, they are trying, though imperfectly, to walk through the narrow gate, but what do they find? Churches that treat them like nuisances. Church services designed to appeal to the secular crowd at the expense of giving the faithful the sacred and invigorating experience they deeply crave. Christian leaders who provide no leadership. A faith muted and watered down for the benefit of those who wish to destroy it.

These believers are trying their best to keep their hearts pure in a society that heaps mockery and scorn upon such efforts. They despair sometimes wondering how they’ll ever manage to raise their children to love Jesus in a country where even His supposed followers celebrate sin and bestow blessings on the worst kinds of evil. They’ve watched their nation discard virtue and truth and God. They feel isolated. They feel betrayed. They are beaten and exhausted in their fight against sin because they feel like they are fighting alone. They feel like Christ on Calvary shouting,  ”My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Of course, God has not forsaken them. But many Christians have. Many churches have. Many pastors have. Many Christian leaders have. They need to be equipped, encouraged and inspired in their mission to defeat sin, follow the Word and walk the narrow path to salvation, but these Christians are frequently left wondering where to turn.

Certainly the culture is no help. The education system is usually just another obstacle. The government, the media, even sometimes their own families are against their quest for holiness. So they run to their churches and their ministers and their fellow Christians and often they are greeted with secularized gospels and “progressive” gospels and “prosperity” gospels and gay gospels when all they want is the Gospel, in all its truth and fury.

John Chrysostom said the Holy Scripture should be “engraved upon our hearts.” There are some Christians who wish to adhere to it with that level of severity. They are the minority that all churches should be bending over backwards to embrace. They are the ones who need to be included again. They are the life of the Faith in this country.

Frankly, the church has not failed if it makes open homosexuals or anyone else feel uncomfortable in their sin. That is a success. That is the church doing what it’s supposed to do.  But it has failed if it makes the faithful and the sincere feel unwelcome. This is the real problem, the real crisis.

I’ll pray Christian churches in this country always “include” the Truth, not liberal sexual dogmas or any other form of blasphemy.

As for you, I’ll pray you leave your sin behind and come to Christ remorseful and empty handed, ready to be His servant.

As for me, please pray I do the same.

God Bless.

If You Thought PEGIDA was Dead, Think Again, It's Only Mostly Dead

Massive PEGIDA rally in Dresden marks 2 years of anti-immigrant movement

Massive might be a bit of an overstatement. Somewhere between 5,000 and 8,500 is big but 'massive', not so much!

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Dresden to mark the second anniversary of the far-right anti-Islam German movement PEGIDA. Dresden is PEGIDA's birthplace.

Supporters gathered at Theaterplatz Square in central Dresden to protest against the refugee policy of Angela Merkel, as well as what they see as forced multiculturalism and the continued Islamization of Europe.

“You have a million foreigners every year. They don’t speak the German language, they do not accept our culture, they have very basic or no education or no professional skills,” one demonstrator told RT. “We have no use for them. We have our own German problems.”

Actually, a little fewer than a million last year and less than a third of a million this year, thanks to Mr Orban.

“We have more rapes, we have more criminality, we have more violence that we didn’t have before,” another added.

There was a heavy police presence at the scene, including armored carriers and two water cannons, as encounters between PEGIDA supporters, counter-protesters and the authorities have turned violent in the past. But the rally on Sunday was entirely trouble-free and no arrests were made.

According to German public broadcaster MDR, there were at least 5,000 people at the rally, although German statistical research group Durchgezahlt put the number as high as 6,500-8,500. Originally the demonstration was due to take place on Monday, but was moved after the city organized a street festival on that day instead.

A smaller, counter-demonstration of 130 was led by students, but police kept the two groups at a distance to maintain public order. Some counter-demonstrators claimed they were kept away from certain parts of the city due to an ‘Islamist threat’, but this was denied by the police.

Some have expressed frustration that the PEGIDA demonstration was not met by sufficient opposition.

“For PEGIDA's birthday, the Dresden authorities are rolling out the red carpet once again and making sure counter-demonstrations are nowhere to be seen or heard,” left-wing MP Andre Schollbach told Deutsche Welle.

Pegida (which stands for ‘Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West’) has been exploiting (exploiting is probably the wrong word here as it implies a means to a particular gain; PEGIDA may have some racist elements, but, I think they are mainly trying to raise the profile of a serious problem that has not really been addressed all that seriously) the anti-immigrant agenda since its emergence in Dresden in late 2014. The movement has gained popularity in Germany and overseas, holding rallies against ‘Islamization’, refugees and Angela Merkel’s open-door migrant policy. At its peak, Pegida meetings attracted some 25,000 supporters.

Anti-migrant sentiment in Germany is on the rise, with the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party gaining strong support at the expense of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).